Personal injury cases allow injured individuals to hold the negligent parties that caused the incident liable. Car accidents are a large portion of many personal injury claims. In a matter of minutes, a negligent or reckless act can cause a devastating injury with damages and expensive repairs.
When you are partially at fault for the incident, it seems like you’ve missed your chance at obtaining compensation for injuries and damages to your vehicle. This can be a tricky situation, but there is still a chance you can receive compensation for your injuries!
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What are California Comparative Fault Laws?
Yes, it is actually still possible for you to obtain compensation if you were partially at fault for an accident in the state of California. Different states do have different laws when it comes to accident liabilities and awarding compensation to injured parties, but in this case, we will be examining California’s laws.
California uses what is known as comparative fault law. With this law, any person who is found partially at fault for damages could still receive compensation, just at a reduced amount. For example, if you are asking for $10,000 in damages but are found to be 30% at fault, the 30% would also be taken out of the $10,000. So you would receive $7,000. This has been deemed the best option for the state, to ensure liability is still placed and compensations are rewarded for any damages from the incident.
What Factors are Considered in Determining Fault?
Like with any personal injury case, there may be a number of factors considered that determine liability and degree of fault for both parties involved. The evidence that may be used must be obtained by both parties, and it may even take an extensive period of time. Some of the factors considered when it comes to determining fault include:
One of the main factors looked at when it comes to California incidents is the degree of negligence. Negligence comes down to the failure to take reasonable care, and as a consequence, causing injury and damages to another party.
Another detail taken into consideration in an accident where the injured party was partially at fault is contributory negligence. This means the injured party contributed to the party in some way, whether it was driving distractedly or something else. Contributory negligence is what determines how much compensation should be reduced.
The intentionality behind the incident is also brought into question. This means that if one party intentionally caused harm to another party, they may be assigned a higher percentage of fault.
When it comes to one party violating a traffic law or other statute that contributed to the other’s injury or damages, the violating party may be assigned a higher percentage of liability. This means they will owe a greater amount of compensation as well.
Being partially at fault for an accident does not always mean you must pass on possible compensation. When it comes to these types of cases, the mentioned factors are studied to determine liability. It is always important to consult with your personal injury attorney to learn more about the evidence you must provide and how to better build your claim.
What Evidence May be Used?
Building evidence for a personal injury incident where you were at fault can be tricky, but not when you have the right legal representation. There are some forms of evidence that can be used to support your personal injury claim. The most common forms of evidence studied in personal injury cases include:
- Medical records or statements from doctors that treated your injuries. This can show injuries were linked to the incident in question.
- Photos or videos of the event. This can be especially useful to highlight any damages that your vehicle incurred.
- Statements or other testimonies from eyewitnesses. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other bystanders at the scene of the incident for their contact information. Eyewitness testimony can really make or break a claim if it is a solid piece of evidence.
- Police reports. Many people find it unnecessary to get the police or even medics involved. However, this can be critical for building a personal injury case, as both police and medics will contribute to written reports that highlight the incident, record damages, and even place liability.
- Bills to prove economic losses. A vehicle accident or other similar incident can end up being very pricey. From car repairs to loss of wages from being unable to work as a result of injury, it is necessary to hold on to every single bill that shows the financial hits you took as a result of the accident.
Collecting evidence for a personal injury case can be what makes it stronger or weakens it. Even if evidence puts a small amount of liability on you, you may still be eligible for financial compensation. Working with a skilled personal injury attorney can put you on the right path when it comes to obtaining the right evidence needed for your claim.
What to Do After an Accident?
After a vehicle accident, many people freeze up. The adrenaline, fear, and pain from injuries can make them unsure of what to do. However, it is important to think clearly and act fast. Here are a few tips on what you should do after an accident.
The other party may tell you police aren’t needed, but if you want a record of the incident, it is necessary you call the police. An ambulance will also be needed to check for injuries. Having a written report of the incident is a major piece of evidence for any personal injury case.
Document everything. Take photos of your vehicle from every angle. Even if you were partially at fault, taking photos can show extensive damages that may prove liability for the other driver. Taking videos can also be a great idea.
Get Witness Info
As previously mentioned, getting eyewitness info can be key. Other drivers and passengers who saw the incident unfold can offer a neutral and unbiased account of the events. Even if liability is on both drivers, eyewitness accounts can pin some important details that both drivers may not have noticed.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney
After all is said and done, the next key step is to sit down with a personal injury attorney. Consultations with personal injury lawyers are usually free of charge, and you can gain insightful knowledge on your personal case by talking with a personal injury lawyer. While consulting with a personal injury attorney, the topic of liability will always come up. A professional personal injury attorney will consider your partial fault in the incident and determine what the right steps are for you.
Vehicle accidents can cause severe injury and expensive financial losses. If you were involved in a vehicle accident where another party was liable, but you were also found partially at fault, you may still be entitled to proper financial compensation. Sit down with an expert San Diego personal injury attorney in your area and discuss the next steps for your claim.